Move towards making S'pore a 'farm city'

It is heartening to see the increase in resources dedicated towards making indoor gardening a more feasible option (Spotlight on indoor gardens: Will LED lead the way?; Oct 27).

Farming in a controlled environment enables the cultivation of plants that are usually unsuitable for a tropical climate.

Less pesticides need to be used, which minimises environmental damage and enhances food safety.

Any fertilisers used are also contained, rather than washed into water bodies where the aquatic fauna and flora are harmed.

To reap the full benefits of light-emitting diode (LED) lights, perhaps we can learn from San Francisco vertical farm start-up Plenty. Rather than stacking shelves of plants, like farms in Singapore do, Plenty's crops and LED lights are arranged vertically, with each plant popping out of the side of a tall, skinny tower. This accommodates more produce within a given area.

As a land-scarce nation, Singapore can greatly benefit from this more efficient use of space.

Farms would be able to grow more produce that is richer in flavour and nutrients. This makes us less vulnerable to shocks from foreign markets.

The National Parks Board can consider developing underground spaces or spaces within buildings for such gardening. Local farms looking to expand can also consider this.

If LED technology gets incorporated into the urban landscape, anyone can be an urban farmer. This increases the accessibility of healthier food options, and makes us a more sustainable and environmentally friendly nation. However, more research still needs to be done before widespread use of the technology is possible.

I hope it will not be long before LED lights transform Singapore into a "farm city".

Foo Jia Jue (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2017, with the headline 'Move towards making S'pore a 'farm city''. Print Edition | Subscribe